Friendships arise out of shared spaces and shared experiences, but most deeply, friendships arise out of the sharing of souls.
David and Jonathan had that sort of friendship. 1 Samuel 18:1 says they “became one in spirit”. If you’ve read any of the “Anne of Green Gables” books you’ll understand this concept very well. It’s the idea of discovering a friend who becomes a ‘bosom friend’ or a ‘kindred spirit’. It’s someone “to whom I can confide my inmost soul” says Anne to Diana.
The bond that drew David and Jonathan together more than any other linkage was clearly their love for God. From the story, we can identify three soul traits that linked these men.
Jonathan and David shared a similar fire for God’s honor.
The Israelites were being pulverized by the Philistines, so much so that the Hebrews were forced to flee to the hills and caves. Jonathan grows fed up with this. One day Jonathan says to his armor bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows.” (1 Sam.14:6)
David got fed up with the never-ending standoff with Goliath. So much so that when he sees Goliath strutting across the battlefield, defying Israel, he says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam.17:26) Do you see the similarity in their language? Both men had a zeal for God’s honor.
Jonathan and David also shared an instinct to seek God’s will.
In chapter 14:8 Jonathan seeks God’s direction by setting a fleece. He says to his armor bearer, “If the Philistines see us and say, ‘Wait there and we’ll come to you,’ we’ll stay put. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.’” The Philistines say, ‘Come up,’ Jonathan without hesitation jumps into battle. Verse 13: “The Philistines fell before Jonathan…In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men…Then panic struck the whole Philistine army…It was a panic sent by God.” (14:13-15).
David was just the same way. He was eager to know God’s direction. In 2 Samuel 5 is a story of David battling the Philistines. In 5:19 he “inquires of God” the Bible says. “Shall I go and attack them? Will you hand them over to me?” God says, Go get ‘em. And David wins the battle. A short time later, the Philistines are back. David didn’t assume the directions from last time still applied. He inquired of God yet again in 2 Samuel 5:23. And this time God says, “Go, but don’t go straight up; circle around them this time.” David, swift to obey God, wins the battle again.
Jonathan and David shared a similar confidence in God’s power.
In 1 Samuel 14:6, Jonathan says to his armor bearer, “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” They then press the attack against the Philistines. David, charging out to face Goliath cries out, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saved; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands.” (17:47). These two men who didn’t grow up together, nevertheless shared an absolute trust in God’s power.
No wonder when these two men first met and started sharing their stories and their passions with each other that their hearts started pounding inside their chest. These were twin sons of different mothers, sharing one soul in two bodies.
And when that linkage between you and another is Jesus Christ, you’ve found something that is stronger than steel. Something that will outlast time itself.
How do you experience this sort of sharing? How do you find a soul friend? You have to go beyond talking about the weather, and sports. You have to take the chance and lay bare your soul to someone else. Are you willing to take that chance?